SEOUL, South Korea-Kia Motors Corp. has begun construction on its first-ever U.S. manufacturing facility, in West Point, GA. The $1 billion automotive assembly plant is central to Kia's long-term plans to increase North American sales to around 650,000 vehicles by 2010.

The new Georgia facility is scheduled to begin production in 2009, with an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles. It will employ approximately 2,500. An additional 10 suppliers are expected to locate in the vicinity.

"Kia Motors will do our best to secure jobs and sustain financial growth in the area through transparent management and world-class quality assurance," says Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group Chairman, Mong-Koo Chung. "Kia will strive to become a responsible corporate citizen who contributes to the local community and preservation of the environment."

Kia also has a new plant under construction in China and a plant in Slovakia just now going into production. Once these three plants are all online, Kia will have a worldwide production capacity of 1 million units.